DBusiness Named No. 2 Regional Business Magazine in U.S., Wins Seven AABP Awards for 2020 Coverage

DBusiness magazine has won three Gold, three Silver, and one Bronze award in the 2021 Alliance of Area Business Publishers Editorial and Design Excellence Competition for its work in 2020. Winners were announced Wednesday.
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“A Dam Shame” in the November/December issue of DBusiness won a Gold Award in the annual AABP competition. // File photo
“A Dam Shame” in the November/December issue of DBusiness won a Gold Award for Best Investigative Reporting in the annual AABP competition. // File photo

DBusiness magazine has won three Gold, three Silver, and one Bronze award in the 2021 Alliance of Area Business Publishers Editorial and Design Excellence Competition for its work in 2020. Winners were announced Wednesday.

Gold winners include Norm Sinclair for Best Body of Work by a Single Writer and for Best Investigative Reporting, and Ronald Ahrens for Best Recurring Feature.

For the Best Investigative Reporting citation, for “A Dam Shame,” which examined the cause and aftermath of a mid-Michigan dam break in May 2020, the judges wrote: “A well-written, well-documented aggregation of information and documentation about a dam disaster that could have been prevented without the jousting between the state and the dam owner over control and management. The efficient and thorough story carefully traces the missteps that compromised safety, wiped out towns, and cost property owners their homes.”

Silver winners include the DBusiness staff for Best Magazine in the country, Dale Buss for Best Personality Profile for “Due Diligence,” which covered the success of luxury resort and office developer David V. Johnson, and Sinclair for Best Feature for his work in covering the demise of Art Van Furniture in Warren.

For the latter piece, the judges wrote: “Through dogged reporting and analysis, the writer captured the nuances of corporate power, Wall Street greed, and disrespect for a traditional family business. Art Van Furniture was a treasure throughout the Detroit region, yet was brought to its knees by new owners. The writer’s pacing was pitch-perfect, making this cautionary tale almost impossible to put down until reaching the sad conclusion.”

Bronze winners were Austin Phillips and Alexander Shammami for Best Overall Design — Magazine.

“We cover companies and business leaders who are based in Detroit, the region, and Michigan, which are either growing here, nationally, or around the world, and it’s gratifying to see our team recognized at a national level,” says R.J. King, editor of DBusiness magazine. “Thank you to our readers, advertisers, and sponsors. Our goal is to provide the very best coverage of what is a dynamic economic engine represented by thousands of companies.”

The annual AABP competition is coordinated and judged by faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

“Norm Sinclair gets to the heart of every matter in his wide-ranging body of work,” said the judges of Sinclair’s Best Body of Work by a Single Writer submission, “capturing the personalities and motivations of each central character in an unfolding drama. His investigation into flood destruction (“A Dam Shame”) and the aftermath, for example, takes the reader right to the site where he delivers a rather sinister, heartbreaking backstory.

“Sinclair definitely works his stories for all they are worth, and they are worth a great deal to the audience.”

About Ahrens’ “Closing Bell” Best Recurring feature, the judges said, “These engaging slices of history illustrate the richness of Detroit’s commercial past. The writing has the literary grace of good historical narratives, and beautifully toned vintage photographs add elements of authenticity and charm.”

“Local people and local businesses are at the heart of this robust publication,” said the judging panel about DBusiness’ Silver award for Best Magazine. “The Ticker section was a well-written and brightly visual entry into the magazine. Features were compelling and varied, from looking at the future of business post-COVID-19 to a tale of the demise of a popular furniture store.”

For DBusiness’ Bronze Award for Best Overall Design — Magazine, Austin Phillips, art director, and Alexander Shammami’s work was described by the judges as “Beautiful typographic treatment, spot color, and art heads make the pages pop. Covers are approached in different ways, and each is successful, with solid illustrations, photographs, and type. Of note are “A Dam Shame,” with documentary photographs and a helpful graphic to explain the location of the damage; and “The Sport of Business,” with elegant typography.

Below are links to the features cited by the judges.

— “The Sport of Business” (Detroit Pro Athletes Turned Business Leaders)

— “A Dam Shame” (Mid-Michigan flood)

— “Buy-In, Sellout” (Art Van Furniture demise)

— “Due Diligence” (David V. Johnson profile)

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